Sickening Higgins KO sours North Melbourne victory

Shaun Higgins had to be taken from the field on a medicab as North Melbourne stunned Hawthorn by 28 points.

On the same day his wife gave birth, Higgins was knocked unconscious in the third quarter on Sunday after a sickening collision with Ryan Burton.

Higgins was blind-sided by Burton, who appeared to collect Higgins in the head with his shoulder.

The new father lay prone on the field for several minutes before he was taken from the field in a neck brace and sent to hospital for scans.

Higgins was out cold. Image: Channel 7

Just seconds later Higgins' teammate Ed Vickers-Willis was also knocked out in a separate incident, but was able to run off the field.

North Melbourne CEO Carl Dilena said both players were doing reasonably well.

"The good news is he's moving, he's talking, he was actually more worried about the welfare of his wife, who is in hospital after giving birth," he said about Higgins.

Higgins was taken from the field on a medicab. Image: Getty

The undermanned Roos held on for victory to climb to third on the ladder.

Up by 57 points at halftime on Sunday, the Kangaroos only managed three goals in the second half but did enough to hold off the resurgent Hawks and claim a 14.14 (98) to 11.4 (70) win in front of a 27,981-strong crowd.

Forward Ben Brown (four goals), midfielder Ben Cunnington (30 disposals) and backman Robbie Tarrant (16 marks) played starring roles as the rebuilding Roos made a dominant start to the game.

The Roos looked run off their feet during a third term in which Luke Breust slotted three of his five majors and Liam Shiels added two of his own.

But Hawthorn were unable to press their advantage and late goals to Cameron Zurhaar and Jarrad Waite secured a hard-fought victory for North.

In another blow for the Hawks, Tom Mitchell's Brownlow Medal hopes could be in jeopardy with a suspected high elbow on North Melbourne ruckman Todd Goldstein certain to come under scrutiny.

Mitchell was subjected to a hard tag by Ben Jacobs, and his frustrations appeared to boil over in the second term when he gave away a free kick - and a resulting goal - for the glancing blow on Goldstein behind the play.

Mitchell's scintillating start to the season had him considered an early Brownlow frontrunner but Jacobs wore him like a glove, restricting the prolific ball-winner to 19 disposals.

North's Zurhaar was reported for rough conduct after laying a hard bump on David Mirra which sent the Hawks backman hurtling into the boundary fence.

with AAP